The Paris Wife is a fictional account of the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. It recounts through Hadley how they first met and their life in Paris up through their divorce.
It took me a while to get into this book, then I began to enjoy the main part, when Hemingway is in Paris as an expatriate and meeting exciting people and starting some of his great work. Hemingway was not the most likable of people but he was interesting and talented. The same can not be said for his wife. I found her to be quite dull and so I am not sure of the purpose of this novel.
Many accounts have been written about Hemingway's time in Paris and if this had been non-fiction, it might have been relevant to have Hadley's point of view. But for a fiction book, not so much.
The book was redeemed by the other characters in the book that we are more familiar with, such as Gertrude Stein, the Fitzgeralds, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound. But Hadley added nothing other than being a long-suffering wife who misplaced a great deal of Hemingway's earlier work and tried to have a normal life with a man who wanted the opposite.
I didn't really connect with her, so I didn't care as she lost Ernest to another woman. I figured she was better off anyway and it appears that she was.
I'm not sure why this book has received so much praise, I guess I am a dissenting opinion. I'm giving it a 3 rating only because I do love to read about this time period.
my rating 3/5
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Boston private investigator Patrick Kenzie is about to anger such a man.
When Patrick first meets Karen Nichols, she strikes him as the kind of woman who irons her socks—an innocent from a protected upbringing, untouched by tragedy. But six months later Karen commits suicide by leaping from one of Boston's most cherished monuments. Patrick finds himself wondering what can alter someone so drastically, so quickly, that suicide seems her only option. Yet what begins as idle curiosity soon becomes obsessive as Patrick suspects that the tragic events that befell Karen during the last months of her life—an "accident" that destroyed her fiancé; the loss of her job, her apartment, and eventually her mind—may not have been as random as they first appeared.
Enlisting the aid of his ex-partner and ex-flame, Angela Gennaro, as well as that of his friend, the lethally unbalanced Bubba Rogowski, Patrick enters into a treacherous game of cat-and-mouse with a man who, instead of merely killing his victims, prefers to make them wish they were dead. Through the final weeks of a stifling summer, Patrick, Angie, and Bubba wage psychological warfare with this brilliant, depraved sociopath—a war that will bring them face-to-face with the sordid secrets of an affluent family, a brutal Mafioso, a cabal of twisted kidnappers, and a perilous encounter in the misty dark of a cranberry bog.
As the stakes grow higher and more personal, they find they might be fighting a losing battle against an enemy the law can't touch, who is always one step ahead of them, who is gradually learning their weaknesses, their loves, and is determined to tear their worlds apart.
This is the first book I have read by Lehane though I watched Gone, Baby, Gone and Mystic River and enjoyed both. I figured it was about time I read one of his books as we all know, books are generally better than the movie. I was not disappointed, this was a great piece of crime fiction.
Not only was the plot fast paced and well-written, with plenty of twists, but the character development was great. I loved the interactions between Patrick and Bubba, who is a character unlike any other. Throw in Angie, who had left Patrick after Gone, Baby, Gone, she rejoins the team for this one, intrigued as they look for this person who completely destroyed a woman's life for no apparent reason.
There is a lot of graphic violence but it didn't bother me, it added to the credibility of the story. I'm not sure whether Patrick and Angie are PI's so much as vigilantes in this one, but I enjoyed it very much. I've heard the next installment doesn't have as much Bubba, though it goes back to the story from Gone, Baby, Gone. I'll probably read it though I'll miss Bubba. I am also pretty sure I am going to read Shutter Island which I heard was much better than the movie which I did not see.
I can see why Lehane is so popular. If you like the mystery/thriller genre with a little edge, I think you will enjoy this book.
my rating 4.5/5
Sunday, April 3, 2011
from the publisher: There is no problem that a library card can't solve.
The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.
I greatly enjoyed this debut. I certainly love characters that love to read and a book littered with quotes from Shakespeare. While caring for their sick mother, each sister begins to see herself in a new way and discover their better selves. The ending was a bit predictable but so what?
my rating 4/5
from the publisher: Lexie Sinclair is plotting an extraordinary life for herself.
Hedged in by her parents' genteel country life, she plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who wears duck-egg blue ties and introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, post-war Soho. She learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to embrace her life fully and with a deep love at the center of it. She creates many lives—all of them unconventional. And when she finds herself pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own terms.
Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood. She doesn't recognize herself: she finds herself walking outside with no shoes; she goes to the restaurant for lunch at nine in the morning; she can't recall the small matter of giving birth. But for her boyfriend, Ted, fatherhood is calling up lost memories, with images he cannot place.
As Ted's memories become more disconcerting and more frequent, it seems that something might connect these two stories—these two women—something that becomes all the more heartbreaking and beautiful as they all hurtle toward its revelation.
I enjoyed this book though it took a while for me to see the connection between the two stories. I liked the characters and the stories though this wasn't my favorite of O'Farrell's novels. I wasn't that fond of the ending, but I'm not sure why.
This was an overall good read, maybe I expected more because there had been a lot of hype when it first came out.
my rating 3.5/5
from the publisher When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.
This story is told through various people in bits in pieces which I mostly enjoyed. I found there was too much from Claire who is the adopted mother of Joshua, the boy at the center of all the secrets. Claire wasn't important enough to have that much to say. She didn't know any of the secrets and her story seemed to mostly discuss how much she loved Joshua, which is nice but not part of the plot. I think that took something away. I found Allison to be interesting because even at the end, I still didn't know what I thought of her. But it was an overall good mystery.
my rating 3.5/5